28 September 2007
NEW YORK STORY
RIFFMARKET NEW YORK DANCE MUSIC CELEBRATION
Off the top of my head we've had:
LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver
LCD Soundsystem: North American Scum (Onastic Dub)
LCD Soundsystem: Freak Out/Starry Eyes
Lee Douglas: New York Story
Escort: All Through The Night
Escort: A Bright New Life
Baby Oliver: Primetime (Uptown Express)
Baby Oliver: The Shots
Audion: I Gave You Away
!!!: Heart of Hearts
Holy Ghost: Hold On
Still Going: Still Going Theme
V/A: After Dark
Hercules & Love Affair: Roar
And I'm forgetting who knows how many others, some mixes too, to say nothing of all the disco edits and remixes, to say nothing of non-dance releases. A DFA-heavy list for sure but DFA/Rong/Environ/Italians comprise something of a do-no-wrong axis in these parts. Also taken by how many of these tracks, more than usual it seems, trading in that NYcentric melancholy I increasingly find myself attracted to, of wanting to have kicked it here twenty years ago, of walking by 647 Broadway and hoping I might catch a chill but instead crossing the street and checking out the prices on Atrium's import denim. As bright and full-sounding as some of these tracks get too, they're pent up, tightly wound, pensive--silver-age material, wise to their own anachronism. I guess that means 205 Club, maybe only 205 Club, which if you can stomach the front-of-house's pained attempts to manufacture some kind of exclusivity, a move that ratchets up the number of people worthy of exclusion and makes both sides more miserable than they have to be, is one of the few consistently good times out anymore.
The rest of the night seems interchangeable and h*pster in the glib sense of the word, laptop dudes riding the mashup train (still!) or dutifully importing the same French vinyl everyone else is. Beating the horse dead I know. Thing is I don't doubt Kitsune and friends will, as house did to disco, produce something worthwhile out of all these low-budget open rehearsals. But at least when house did it there was the rarity factor, the location, the community, the bodily danger (bad drugs; AIDS)--all really physical things we're more/less deprived of at this point. Dance music without a strong physical component is what again? It's a second-order abstraction of dance music, intent primarily on sounding like dance music, only secondarily on making people dance.
(Related sidenote, fucking wow, how terrible that you can't even go to a party and act like an idiot without having to worry that this city's most vile and worthless subset will try and turn you out. Have we reached the point that I thought we would just not this soon, when "nice people in real life, assholes on the internet" have largely become "assholes in both real life and the internet"? Reminds me of something J said, which is it's not the idiot bankers who've killed this city but the mostly ugly semi-idiot liberal arts-educated hangers-on who aren't talented enough to produce and aren't stupid enough just to enjoy themselves. Instead they try to bring the rest of us down with them, a last-ditch impulse born only of self-loathing nihilism. Until the next print mag job opens up!)
There's feedback loopage at work here obviously, one I'm not crazy about sticking by because I'm skeptical of one-to-one "product reflects its environment" PR as it is, eg first-wave techno packaging itself as the sound of Detroit. For whom exactly? But yes I'm making out 2007 NYC-produced dance music to be like this glitch in our matrix, and maybe that's just it, lots of tracks here that suggest they come from more than abstractions, that really want to rescue some kind of first-order function, in New York, the wistful lyrics ("Hold On"; Sound of Silver), the anguished yelps ("Roar"), the will to silliness ("Primetime"), that last trait being the most crucial.